VINNY CLAUSI Appellant.
GREGORY A. STUCK, MICHAEL BORIS, AND JOSEPH JONES Appellees.
Appeal from the Judgment Entered November 2, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County Civil Division at No(s): CV-10-353
BEFORE: MUNDY, J., OLSON, J., and STRASSBURGER, J.[*]
Appellant, Vinny Clausi, appeals from the November 2, 2012 order granting the motions for summary judgment filed by Gregory A. Stuck, Esquire (Attorney Stuck), Michael Boris, and Joseph Jones (collectively Appellees), and entering judgment in their favor. After careful review, we affirm.
The trial court summarized the relevant facts and procedural history of this case as follows.
[Appellant] is a Northumberland County Commissioner. [Boris and Jones] were Northumberland County Deputy Sheriffs.
In his complaint, [Appellant] allege[d] that on December 29, 2009, during a public meeting, [Appellant] made various statements regarding the presence of pornography on certain computers located in the Sheriff's Office.  Boris and Jones complained that the statements made by [Appellant] were defamatory to the entire Sheriff's staff, including  Boris and Jones. Shortly after this public meeting, on January 13, 2010,  Boris and Jones were terminated.
[Boris and Jones] retained the legal services of [Attorney] Stuck.  Stuck filed a Writ of Summons on December 30, 2009, against [Appellant] and Northumberland County on behalf of  Boris and Jones and other deputy sheriffs. [Attorney Stuck] then filed a civil complaint on January 13, 2010, against [Appellant] and Northumberland County on behalf of his clients Boris and Jones and other deputies. The "defamation" [c]omplaint alleged claims for defamation of character and sought money damages and an apology.
Following the filing of the defamation complaint, two of the plaintiffs to that action advised [Attorney] Stuck that they no longer wished to be part of the litigation. Subsequently, additional plaintiffs advised [Attorney] Stuck that they no longer wished to pursue litigation against [Appellant] and Northumberland County, since [Appellant] had purportedly apologized to those parties.
Trial Court Opinion, 11/2/12, at 3-4. Boris and Jones subsequently withdrew the complaint alleging defamation and filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint alleged federal civil rights claims, wrongful termination, and claims under the Whistleblower Act against Appellant and other parties. Attorney Stuck's Preliminary Objections, 3/15/12, Exhibit E, at ¶¶ 30-60.
On March 2, 2010, Appellant filed a civil complaint against Appellees. The complaint pled claims of wrongful use of civil proceedings, abuse of process, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Boris and Jones filed an answer with new matter on March 23, 2010. Appellant filed a reply to Boris and Jones' answer and new matter on April 19, 2010. Attorney Stuck filed his own answer and new matter on April 21, 2010. On June 16, 2010, Boris and Jones filed a motion to amend their answer to add a cross-claim against Attorney Stuck, which the trial court granted on June 30, 2010. Boris and Jones filed their amended answer, new matter, and cross-claim on July 6, 2010.
On January 30, 2012, Appellant filed a motion to amend his complaint pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1033, which the trial court granted on February 1, 2012. Appellant filed his amended complaint on March 2, 2012. That same day, Attorney Stuck filed preliminary objections to Appellant's amended complaint. Boris and Jones filed their own preliminary objections on March 15, 2012. The trial court held a hearing on all of the preliminary objections on May 29, 2012. On June 6, 2012, the trial court entered an order sustaining all of the preliminary objections and struck Appellant's claim for wrongful use of civil proceedings from his complaint.
On July 30, 2012, Attorney Stuck filed a motion for summary judgment. Boris and Jones also filed a motion for summary judgment on August 1, 2012. After briefing, the trial court heard argument on the motions on October 10, 2012. On November 2, 2012, the trial court entered an order, which granted both motions for summary judgment, entered judgment in favor of Appellees on all of Appellant's remaining claims, and ...